Canis Panther

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Canis Panther
DogInformationTV /

The Canis Panther is a very interesting designer dog that does not follow the rules. While hybrids tend to be a mixture of two pedigrees, the greedy Canis Panther is composed of not two but four different breeds of dog! These are: The loyal Doberman Pinscher, the protective American Staffordshire Terrier, the sweet-natured Labrador Retriever and the noble Great Dane. With so many parent breeds, the temperament of the Canis Panther can vary from dog to dog and can be hard to predict accurately.

The Canis Panther looks like the dog a villain in a James Bond movie might own. Bred to look imposing and attractive, they have a short sleek coat and a body that is heavily muscled. Many will have their ears cropped and tail docked to give them a ‘meaner’ appearance but these procedures are outlawed in many countries as they are seen as unnecessary and unethical.

About & History

The Canis Panther was bred in the same decade as the first designer dog, the Labradoodle. This was in the 1970s, when the cross-breeding of pedigrees was in its infancy. The initial cross occurred in Chicago, America when a group of dog fanciers were keen to create a new breed that was loyal to its owner and fiercely protective.

Whether this dog is a pedigree or not is hotly debated as, while not currently recognised by any major Kennel Clubs, there have been several lines of the Canis Panther that have been carefully selected and can be traced back. While on the scene for close to half a century now, the Canis Panther is still not widely known and their parent breeds remain far more popular.

The Doberman

The Doberman Pinscher is a German breed that has a similar story to the Canis Panther, as it was bred by a German dogcatcher who used a variety of pedigrees, including the Beauceron and the Rottweiler to create a breed that he felt would be stronger and easier to train than its predecessors. His dream became a success and the Doberman is now employed by the army and police service as a working dog in large numbers.

The American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier has been in existence for roughly 200 years and counts the Bulldog amongst one if its ancestors. Initially, they were used as fighting dogs. However, once this cruel and pointless sport was outlawed, American Staffies remained popular as pets.

The Am Staff differs from the British Staffordshire Bull Terrier as they are stockier and larger. Despite being saved from dog fighting, the American Staffie continues to have a bad reputation and is often owned by criminals and used as an ‘attack dog’. A high number will end up in rescue centres and, sadly, it can prove difficult to rehome dogs with nebulous pasts, leading to many being euthanised.

The Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are perhaps the least territorial of the four dogs and were likely bred in for their biddable character and desire to please their master. They originated in Canada and were generally used as a gundog. Over time, they were designed to be the perfect hunting companion; submissive, responsive and athletic.

In fact, their personality is so desirable that they are classed as the ‘ideal pet’ for those with young children. Many Labs are prone to becoming obese, so cross-breeding them with more athletic breeds can help combat this issue.

The Great Dane

Great Danes are well-known for being the world’s tallest dogs and for their gentle nature. The original Great Dane was used to hunt wild boar – a job which required both skill and courage. These dogs would have been less social and more hostile than today’s laid-back breed members, who would rather relax inside than get their paws dirty chasing prey in the park!


Canis Panther Large Photo
DogInformationTV /

There is no denying that the Canis Panther is an impressive specimen to behold and has inherited some of the most attractive characteristics of each parent breed. They should be lean and strong with powerful limbs and a solid body. Their eyes are typically the almond-shaped eyes of the Staffie and can be brown, blue or amber.

Their forehead is wide and flat with minimally wrinkled skin and their ears are practically always cropped, meaning they stand erect. They have a thick neck and a body, which is longer than it is tall. Their tail is docked so that it is just a small ‘stump’. While still legal to crop ears and dock tails in America, many countries have now banned these cosmetic procedures for welfare reasons.

Canis Panther dogs stand from 60cm to 76cm tall and weigh from 40kg to 65kg. However, these are just average figures and individuals may not follow the guidelines. Males in particular may grow larger than these figures would predict. The short fur of the Canis Panther is shiny and easy to maintain. While most are the jet black of the panther, some will have brown, blue or grey coats.

Character & Temperament

One of the main personality traits of the Canis Panther is that they should be easy to train. To allow this, they are responsive and intelligent and keen to please their master. The Canis Panther is not a wise choice for a first-time dog owner as they benefit from the consistent training and firm rules that an owner experienced in similar breeds will offer.

Naturally territorial, they have a distrust of strangers and will protect their property at any given opportunity. Ever alert, they will be the first to pick up on a new noise or scent and to make their owner aware that something amiss is going on. While they can be hostile and aggressive, with adequate socialisation most are able to integrate well into a family. These brainy bruisers will absolutely devote themselves to their family and usually to one family member in particular. In fact, it is their loyalty that attracts many owners to them.


The Canis Panther is a machine that was built to train! They live and breathe their training and even young dogs can master quite advanced training when in the right hands. A clever dog, they pick up on new training cues with ease and the more varied and challenging the training session, the happier the dog.


We have limited information when it comes to the health of the Canis Panther, despite them being around for around 50 years. Generally, they are thought to live to between 10 and 12 years.


GDV stands for Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: The filling up and twisting over of the stomach on its own axis. When twisted, neither gas nor air can leave and the stomach bloats up like a balloon. The enlarged stomach puts pressure on local organs and can lead to a decreased blood flow and eventual shock. To reverse the damage, the sooner the stomach is surgically de-rotated the better.

Hip Dysplasia

Signs of hip dysplasia can begin when a dog is just a few months old and include muscle wastage of the hind-limbs, an abnormal gait and an inability to keep up when exercising. A vet may suspect the condition when performing an orthopaedic exam and can then confirm the diagnosis by taking some x-rays. If diagnosed early, a surgery known as a double or triple pelvic osteotomy can be performed which offers a good prognosis.


Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a disease of the muscle of the heart that results in an inefficient pump, which is unable to keep up with the circulatory demands of the body. Medicinal therapy can improve quality of life by allowing the heart to beat more effectively and reducing fluid build-up.

Exercise and Activity Levels

These dogs have above average exercise requirements and owners should have a large home and garden in which they can safely exercise off lead. They are happy to play games, such as fetch and Frisbee, and relish any opportunity to go for a hike or swim. Those that do not receive sufficient exercise can become irritable and hard to control.


Grooming the Canis Panther is a relatively simple task as their short coat will only need to be brushed once a week to help spread the natural oils along the fur. These dogs are moderate shedders. A headstrong dog, owners should get their Canis Panther used to all of the basic grooming tasks required (such as tooth brushing and claw clipping) from a young age.

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